Kiersa Benson – Kiersa has a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. In addition to the EE Masters degree, she is working towards a teaching licensure for middle/high biology. She spent the last few years exploring canyon country in Moab, Utah and teaching field trips as a National Park Ranger. In her spare time she enjoys reading mystery novels and knitting silly critters.
Katie Bradley – Katie is a graduate assistant in the biology department, teaching general biology labs. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree, cum laude, in Environmental Science from Messiah College in Pennsylvania. She came to southern Oregon from an environmental educator position at the Alice Ferguson Foundation, a non-profit providing environmental/agricultural education in the Washington, D.C area. Work experiences include the Alaska Center for the Environment and the Maryland Park Service in the field of outdoor education. She enjoys rock climbing and hiking, and hopes to inspire in others the same sense of wonder and appreciation she frequently experiences in nature.
Jessica Collins – Jessica is currently working on her masters in Environmental Education and a certificate of non-profit management. She has a bachelor’s degree in German from Carthage College. She spent several years working for an environmental education center in the Chicagoland area. She was involved in the book and school supply rescue efforts as well as community education. Most recently, she worked in marketing for an electrical contractor that spent the majority of its efforts building wind farms. In her free time, Jessica enjoys endurance running, traveling both domestically and internationally, yoga, cooking, and playing with her dog Max.
Ryan King – Ryan makes the transcontinental trek to the Pacific Northwest from his hometown of Glastonbury, Connecticut. A graduate from Oberlin College with a background in Biology and Environmental Studies, Ryan is pursuing a secondary teaching licensure and is a graduate assistant in the SEEC office. Ryan has previously worked at an alternative high school in Cottage Grove and has taught overseas in the Fijian Islands. Ryan’s career pursuits include place-based and project-based education, sustainable design, and experiential learning. A hydrophilic with an adrenaline appetite, Ryan seeks thrill by running long distances, combating hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, jamming on the guitar, beekeeping, and using plastic boards to surf and snowboard.
Hannah Kolni – Hannah Kolni is excited to be living on the west coast in the beautiful Rogue Valley. Hailing from Dallas, TX, she dedicated over two years as a City of Dallas employee spreading environmental awareness in her hometown after graduating with her B.S. in Anthropology from Southern Methodist University. Hannah has more than five years experience as a student activist and professional in the environmental field. She has also traveled extensively, most recently journeying around the globe over five months including a sustainable development internship in Thailand. She loves to hike, encourage the spread of social justice, and find ways to make the world a better place through everyday actions and interactions. She hopes to become a local naturalist and skilled educator through the EE program with teaching licensure, connecting young people with the naturalworld in a meaningful way that inspires stewardship and advocacy. In her free time, she paints colorful acrylic works and is working on a travel memoir.
Katie MacDiarmid – Katie received her BS in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon. After college, she taught outdoor science programs for 5th and 6th graders at Outdoor School and at Whiskeytown Environmental School. In the summers, she led backpacking, climbing, and rafting trips for teens with Adventure Treks. She also spent a year teaching middle school science for BECA, a bilingual school for low-income students in Honduras, before discovering the Environmental Education program at SOU. In addition to her EE Master’s, Katie is currently pursuing a secondary teaching licensure and working as a graduate assistant in the SEEC office. In her free time, Katie enjoys climbing, running, cooking, reading, and music.
Brennan McGinnis – Brennan spent his college years in a microscopic and molecular fairytale as he studied cell biology at Oregon State University. At the turn of his senior year he realized that, though he loved medicine and physiology, he actually thrived during the two short weeks in which he was guiding youth educational backpacking trips. Through college, and in the years since, he has worked as a contract wilderness outdoor educator and ecological restoration technician. In 2010, Brennan decided that the MS in Environmental Education offered at SOU would be the best way to gain the skills and qualifications necessary for offering wilderness education for young people. While fulfilling the EE requirements, Brennan will also complete coursework towards the Certificate in Non-Profit Management in hopes that he will be able to help restore the Wilderness Charter School curriculum at Ashland High School. In the cracks between family, class, and work, he also loves to backpack, hike, slack-line, snowboard, travel, and cook. Personal heroes: G.W. Hayduke and Utah Phillips
Bethany Osborne-Koch – Bethany has a BS in General Science and Theater with a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon. For the last three years she spent her days falling in love with the rainy, lush forests of Northwestern Oregon as a Field Instructor for the MESD Outdoor School program. While working towards an Elementary/Middle licensure she hopes to strengthen her understanding of our ecosystem to better share her wonder for the outdoors with students. Bethany aspires to spend her time hiking, farming, cooking, and tidepooling – as well as the occasional frolick.
Shauna Oster – Shauna is currently a SEEC graduate assistant and is also working toward a secondary biology teaching licensure. She has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Portland State University. Some of her favorite work experiences include leading fisheries survey field trips as a member of the Americorps Watershed Stewards Project and her adventures on the road as a traveling science educator for OMSI. In between helping kids in the community with their science fair projects and guiding nature hikes, Shauna enjoys kayaking, painting, scuba diving, and roller-skating.
Stacey Perry – Stacey has a degree in Studio Art with a minor in Environmental Studies from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. She is pursuing an elementary/middle level teaching licensure and is passionate about creating empowering learning experiences for children both in the classroom and outdoors. For the past four years, Stacey taught soil science to sixth-graders through the Multnomah Education Service District’s Outdoor School program in Portland, OR. She enjoys spending time in and around Oregon’s beautiful rivers, lakes, and streams.
Libby VanWyhe – Libby graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in Environmental Biology and Management. For the last six years, she has been working in the environmental field in many capacities including: paper pushing, habitat restoration, environmental consulting, WOOFing in Ireland, community organizing, and outdoor education. Since arriving Ashland in 2009, she has loved working among kindred spirits at the North Mountain Park Nature Center. Libby spends her days teaching biology labs for her Graduate Assistantship, working on classroom plans for her teaching license, and trying to blend in with the scientists. She (not-so-secretly) believes in faeries. Shhh… don’t blow her cover.
Teresa “Bird” Wicks – Bird currently works as a graduate assistant in the SEEC office, coordinating the educational kits. She has her B.S. from Oregon State University in Natural Resources and a minor in Wildlife Conservation. Bird volunteered at Wildlife Images Rehabilitation Center for six years, banded birds for the Institute for Bird Populations in Orange County, CA and served as Environmental Educator for at-risk youth through AmeriCorps and The Job Council. Bird has a habit of rescuing animals, currently enjoying time with a horse, Huka, and a dog, Freyja. She enjoys hiking, camping, birdwatching, sewing, research and teaching people about nature.